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Publication numberUS6724427 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/597,134
Publication dateApr 20, 2004
Filing dateJun 20, 2000
Priority dateJun 20, 2000
Fee statusPaid
Publication number09597134, 597134, US 6724427 B1, US 6724427B1, US-B1-6724427, US6724427 B1, US6724427B1
InventorsJohn R. Fredlund, Raymond E. Wess
Original AssigneeEastman Kodak Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Driving a memory display in an image memory card
US 6724427 B1
Abstract
A camera having a removable image bearing medium and an electronic charging unit for providing a source of high voltage, includes a display on the removable image bearing medium. The camera selectively couples such high voltage to the display, the display including material which is effective in a first condition in response to a selectively applied high voltage for changing the condition of the material to display an image and effective in a second condition for preventing the display of the image, the material being selected so that after displaying the image such material continues to display the image after the removal of the applied high voltage. The camera further causes the high voltage in the charging unit to be applied to the display for causing the material to be effective in the first condition to produce the image and for removing the applied high voltage so that the material continues to display the image. When a voltage less than the high voltage is applied to the display, the material changes to the second condition.
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Claims(13)
What is claimed is:
1. A camera having a removable image bearing medium and an electronic charging unit for providing a source of high voltage, comprising:
(a) a display on the removable image bearing medium;
(b) means for selectively coupling such high voltage to the display, the display including material which is effective in a first condition in response to a selectively applied high voltage for changing the condition of the material to display an image and effective in a second condition for preventing the display of the image, the material being selected so that after displaying the image such material continues to display the image after the removal of the applied high voltage; and
(c) voltage applying means for causing the coupling means to selectively apply the high voltage in the charging unit to the display for causing the material to be effective in the first condition to produce the image and for removing the applied high voltage so that the material continues to display the image, the voltage applying means selectively applying a voltage less than the high voltage for causing the material to be effective in the second condition.
2. The camera of claim 1 wherein the material includes a chiral nematic liquid crystal.
3. The camera of claim 1 wherein the image bearing medium includes film in a film cartridge.
4. The camera of claim 1 wherein the image bearing medium includes a memory card.
5. The camera of claim 1 wherein the image bearing medium displays an indication of remaining capacity of images to be taken by the camera.
6. The camera of claim 1 wherein the image bearing medium displays a time or date.
7. The camera of claim 1 wherein the image bearing medium displays at least one image representative of the images captured by the camera.
8. The camera of claim 1 wherein the display includes:
(i) a substrate; and
(ii) the memory material formed over the substrate; and
(iii) electrical conduction means connected to the display for coupling and selectively applying the high voltage in the charging unit and the low voltage to the display for changing the condition of the material in the display.
9. The camera of claim 8 wherein the electrical conduction means includes a plurality of overlapping row and column traces which intersect at pixel positions and wherein the high voltage is selectively applied to such pixel positions.
10. The camera of claim 8 wherein the electrical conduction means applies a pulses of high voltage to the display to cause it to be effective in the first condition and to remain in such condition until pulses of lower voltage are applied.
11. The camera of claim 8 wherein the image bearing medium is a film cartridge.
12. The camera of claim 8 wherein the image bearing medium is a memory card.
13. The camera of claim 8 wherein the image bearing medium displays an indication of remaining capacity.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

Reference is made to commonly-assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/045,016 filed Mar. 20, 1998, U.S. Pat. No. 6,262,697 entitled “Display Having Viewable and Conductive Images” by Stanley W. Stephenson, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to cameras having removable image bearing media.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Current silver halide film cameras have displays for indicating settings and status conditions, such as frame number, of the camera. Often, the display uses twisted nematic liquid crystals that that requires continuous electrical drive to display information. Cameras with this type of display can be turned on only for short periods of time to preserve battery life. When the cameras are turned off, the liquid crystal display goes blank. An operator must turn on the camera to determine the status of the camera. These cameras typically incorporate a high voltage supply to drive an electronic flash built into the camera, and utilize cartridges that contain the film in a light tight environment.

Many digital cameras use liquid crystal displays to display a captured image. Displays in these cameras are also nematic liquid crystals displays that can drain an electronic camera high voltage supply in a short period of time.

Many digital cameras also use removable memory cards to store images. There is no way to tell how much capacity remains or what images reside on these memory cards.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a display on image bearing medium.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a display on image bearing medium that presents an image to a viewer even when the voltage to the display is removed.

These objects are achieved in a camera having a removable image bearing medium and an electronic flash charging unit for providing a source of high voltage, comprising:

(a) a display on the removable image bearing medium;

(b) means for selectively coupling such high voltage to the display, the display including material which is effective in a first condition in response to a selectively applied high voltage for changing the condition of the material to display an image and effective in a second condition for preventing the display of the image, the material being selected so that after displaying the image such material continues to display the image after the removal of the applied high voltage; and

(c) voltage applying means for causing the coupling means to selectively apply the high voltage in the charging unit to the display for causing the material to be effective in the first condition to produce the image and for removing the applied high voltage so that the material continues to display the image, the voltage applying means selectively applying a voltage less than the high voltage for causing the material to be effective in the second condition.

An advantage of the present invention is that it permits the use of displays which require a high voltage source to display images.

A feature of the present invention is that the high voltage supply in the electronic flash unit can be used as a source of high voltage for the display on the image bearing medium.

It is a feature of the present invention it permits display of images on the image bearing medium when high voltage to the display is turned off.

It is a further feature of the present invention to provide an indication on the image bearing medium of the storage capacity remaining.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top sectional view of a silver halide camera with a film cartridge with a memory display;

FIG. 2 is a top sectional view of an electronic capture camera with a removable memory card with a memory display;

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of the memory display of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the memory display of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows an electrical circuit which drives the display of FIG. 3 by selectively coupling the flash unit high voltage supply to the display;

FIG. 6 is a partial top view of the memory display of the electronic capture camera of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6B is a magnified view of the memory display of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7 is an electrical schematic circuit which drives the memory display of FIGS. 6A and 6B;

FIG. 8A is a waveform to drives a memory material to a reflecting, or bright condition;

FIG. 8B is a waveform to drives a memory material to a transmitting, or dark condition;

FIG. 8C is a waveform to drive a memory material to an intermediate condition between transmission and reflection; and

FIG. 9 is a view of a memory card with a memory display.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A top sectional view of a silver halide film camera 10 is shown in FIG. 1. A film cassette 20 with a memory display 37 in camera 10 holds a strip of film 22 that captures images from optic 26. Film 22 is sequentially taken up onto take-up spool 24 to capture a set of images. After image exposure is complete, film 22 is returned to film cassette 20. Camera controller 30 receives commands from an operator and controls the sequential motion of film 22 and optic 26. Camera controller 30 can provide supplemental illumination to a scene by discharging a high voltage pulse through flash tube 42 in a flash unit. Flash tube 42 requires a flash capacitor 40 to store energy for flash tube 42. Flash capacitor 40 typically stores energy in a capacitor having over 50 micro-farads capacitance at over 100 volts.

The status of camera 10 is shown on a display 35 in camera 10. Typically, display 35 shows the number of the current frame of film, the operational mode of flash tube 42, and operating parameters of optic 26. In more complex cameras, display 35 is a conventional nematic liquid crystal display. Nematic liquid crystal fluids act in conjunction with polarizing filters to act as a shutter to reflect or transmit light. Transmitted light is selectively reflected from a surface behind the display to provide light indicia. The reflected light provides a white indicia. When light is blocked by the polarizing filters, the imager area is dark. Nematic liquid crystals must have a continuous electrical field across the display to display information.

FIG. 2 is a top sectional view of an electronic camera 12. Many of the components operate as in conventional camera 10. Film 22 is replaced by electronic sensor 50. Electronic sensor 50 captures a scene and camera controller 30 stores a captured image in removable memory card 52 with memory display 54. Display 35 in electronic camera 12 displays the status of electronic camera 12, and in certain cases displays images from memory 52. The flash tube 42 is often provided in electronic camera 12 to supply additional light to a scene at the time of image capture. Flash tube 42 requires the flash capacitor 40 to store energy for flash tube 42. Flash capacitor 40 typically stores energy in a capacitor having over 50 micro-farads capacitance at over 100 volts.

FIG. 3 is a diagram of display 35 in accordance with the present invention. Memory material 60 is disposed between a transparent top conductor 62 and a bottom conductor 64. Bottom conductor 64 can be a transparent electrical conductor such as Indium-Tin-Oxide or a light absorbing conductor formed by an oxide of a metal such as platinum or nickel. Memory material 60 can be a chiral doped nematic liquid crystal such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,695,682. Applied fields of various intensity and duration change the condition of chiral doped nematic materials from a reflective to a transmissive condition. These materials have the advantage of maintaining a given condition indefinitely after the field is removed. Ambient light striking memory material can be reflected light 70, providing a “light” image or can become absorbed light 72 which provides a “dark” image. The light modulation is effective in two conditions, which will be described in more detail below. Cholesteric liquid crystal materials can be Merck BL112, BL118 or BL126 which are available from EM Industries of Hawthorne, N.Y. In one experiment, two glass plates were coated with transparent Indium-Tin-Oxide (ITO) to form transparent top conductor 62 and bottom conductor 64. A laser beam was used to pattern the ITO coatings and 4 micron spacer beads were applied to one of the plates. The two plates were bonded together, with the spacer beads providing a 4 micron gap between the two plates. Black paint was applied to the back of the display over bottom conductor 64 to absorb light passing through memory material 60. The gap between the plates was filled with E. M. Industries (Hawthorne, N.Y.) chiral nematic fluid BL126 to act as memory material 60. A 3 millisecond pulse at 100 volts across areas on transparent top conductor 62 and bottom conductor 64 would convert the BL126 memory material 60 to a reflective “bright” areas. A 3 millisecond pulse at 40 volts would clear memory material 60 so that incident light was absorbed by the black paint and create “dark” areas. Such a display can be used to display camera status on memory display 37 for conventional camera 10 or display 54 for electronic camera 12. The memory display 37 includes the memory material 60 which is selected to be effective in a first condition for changing the state of the memory material 60 to display an image and effective in a second condition for preventing the display of the image. The memory material 60 is selected so that after displaying the image the memory material 60 continues to display the image after the removal of the applied high voltage. As will be seen shortly when a voltage less than the high voltage is applied to the memory material 60, the memory material 60 is caused to be in its second condition.

FIG. 4 shows such display 35 having memory material 60. A reflecting segment 80 has had a 100 volt pulse applied to memory material 60. A transparent segment 82 has received a 40 volt pulse. Transparent segment 82 passes incident light to a light absorbing surface to create a dark. The individual segments retain a given condition indefinitely after being pulsed. A camera with an electronic flash charging unit provides the source of high voltage. As will be discussed in FIG. 5 a camera 10 or 12 with an electronic flash charging unit provides the source of high voltage that can be shut off and the image-bearing medium will continue to have an visible display.

FIG. 5 is a schematic for driving memory display 37 in conventional camera 10. Flash capacitor 40 is used as a source of high voltage for pulsing memory display 37. Flash capacitor 40 stores power at well over 100 volts. Voltage regulator 90 converts a voltage from flash capacitor 40 to either a high or low voltage. In one case, voltage regulator 90 is resistor network that changes 330 volts on flash capacitor 40 to either 100 or 40 volts in response to high-low voltage select line 92 which is used by camera controller 30 to select a pulse voltage for memory display 37. Using the pre-existing high voltage on flash capacitor 40 eliminates the need for an additional high voltage generating system in conventional camera 10.

Camera controller 30 uses high-low voltage select line 92 to changes the voltage applied to memory display 37. Memory display 37 contains chiral nematic liquid crystal memory material 60 to hold either a reflective or transmissive condition for each segment of display 37.

FIG. 8A show the voltage forms applied by camera controller 30 to a segment of memory display 37 to write the segment into the reflective mode. Camera controller 30 sets voltage regulator 90 to a low voltage and pulses all segment switches 94 to clear all the segments with low voltage pulse PL. Voltage regulator 90 is then set to a high voltage, and selected ones of segment drivers 94 are pulsed with a high voltage pulse PH to convert those segments to the reflective mode.

FIG. 8B is waveform across a segment that has been kept in the transmissive mode. Because PH was not applied across that segment, the segment remains in a transmissive, dark condition from PL. After the write pulses PL and PH are applied, memory display 37 will continue to display status information indefinitely without the use of additional power. Conventional camera 10 can be de-energized and memory display 37 will continue to display information such as the number of images left on film 22 or dates of exposure of frames on film 22 or other information pertinent to images on film 22. If film camera 10 was a hybrid camera with the capacity to capture electronic images as well as film images, a representation of the at least one image electronically captured could also be displayed on memory display 37 on film cassette 20.

FIG. 6A is a partial top view and FIG. 6B is a magnified view of display 35 in electronic capture camera 12. A substrate 61 supports a plurality of transparent row traces 100. A second set of transparent traces form column traces 105. These traces provide for electrical conduction to the display 35 and coupled selectively the high voltage in the flash unit and the low voltage to the display as discussed above. The memory material 60 is disposed between row traces 100 and column traces 105. Memory material 60 is a chiral nematic material that can be written into either a reflective or transmissive condition. Chiral nematic materials can be tuned to red green and blue wavelengths of reflection and three color planes can be stacked to create a full color display.

FIG. 7 is a schematic for driving display 54 in an electronic camera 12. Flash capacitor 40 is used as a source of high voltage for pulses to display 35. Flash capacitor 40 stores power at well over 100 volts. Voltage regulator 90 converts a voltage from flash capacitor 40 to either a high or low voltage. In one case, voltage regulator 90 is resistor network that changes 330 volts on flash capacitor 40 to either 100 or 40 volts in response to high-low voltage select line 92. Using the pre-existing high voltage on flash capacitor 40 eliminates the need for a high voltage generating system in electronic camera 12.

FIG. 8C is the drive signals applied across a single color plane of display 35 when used as to display a color, gray scale image stored in memory 52 using the electrical drive of FIG. 7. Camera controller 30 selects a first column using column selector 120. Camera controller 30 sets voltage regulator 90 to a low voltage, and row drivers 115 write a first clearing pulse PL to all pixels in the row. Camera controller 30 then sets voltage regulator 90 to a high voltage. Row drivers 115 are energized for various gray level times tg A chiral nematic material changes condition from the transmissive to the reflective condition progressively over time. By selecting an appropriate drive time tg for each pixel 110, a column of pixels can be written to various degrees of reflection, creating a column of pixels written to various gray levels. Camera controller 30 uses to column selector 120 to select the next column of pixels for writing. The process is repeated for each column, and each color plane to create a full-color, gray scale image on display 35. Other driving schemes can be used such as one proposed by Hashimoto et al, “Reflective Color Display Using Cholesteric Liquid Crystals”, SID 98 Digest, Article 31.1, 1998, pp. 897-900.

FIG. 9 is a view of a memory card 52 with a memory display 54. Connector 125 mates with the electronic camera 12 to transfer image data for storage as is traditional in electronic cameras. Connector 130 is provided so that the high voltages necessary to update memory display 54 may be applied. One skilled in the art will understand that it may also be possible to update both the memory card and the memory display using a single connector.

Bar indicator 135 is a display that indicates the remaining storage space on the memory card. Time or date display 140 is an indication of the date of capture of at least one of the images stored on the card. Image display 145 is a representation of at least one image file stored on the card. Image display 145 may be imagettes of many image files stored on the card, or could be a portion of one image.

The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention.

PARTS LIST

10 conventional camera

12 electronic camera

20 film cassette

22 film

24 take-up spool

26 optic

30 camera controller

35 display

37 memory display

40 flash capacitor

42 flash tube

50 sensor

52 removable memory card

54 memory display

60 memory material

61 substrate

62 transparent top conductor

64 bottom conductor

70 reflected light

72 absorbed light

80 reflecting segment

82 transmitting segment

90 voltage regulator

92 high-low voltage select line

94 segment switch

100 row traces

105 column traces

Parts List cont'd

110 pixel

115 row drivers

120 column selector

125 memory card connector

130 memory display connector

135 bar indicator

140 time or date indicator

145 image display area

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4837817 *Apr 20, 1987Jun 6, 1989Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Video camera with removable viewer and controls
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7030928 *Mar 29, 2001Apr 18, 2006Canon Kabushiki KaishaInformation display control in image sensing apparatus
US7139027 *Sep 25, 2000Nov 21, 2006Eastman Kodak CompanyCamera having removable display provided on an image bearing medium
US7191940Sep 28, 2005Mar 20, 2007Clinton WilcoxUser programmable interactive display device and method
US7258270Nov 30, 2004Aug 21, 2007Clinton WilcoxCompact electronic unit with display
US7821550 *Jan 11, 2005Oct 26, 2010Sony CorporationRemote image-pickup system, camera device, and card substrate
US8368806 *Mar 28, 2012Feb 5, 2013Panasonic CorporationCamera body with mount to which lens is mountable
US8531595 *Mar 28, 2012Sep 10, 2013Panasonic CorporationCamera body to which interchangeable lens unit is mountable
US8619186Mar 28, 2012Dec 31, 2013Panasonic CorporationCamera body having depression to accommodate capacitor
US8648962Mar 28, 2012Feb 11, 2014Panasonic CorporationCamera body
US20120182466 *Mar 28, 2012Jul 19, 2012Panasonic CorporationCamera body and imaging device
US20120182467 *Mar 28, 2012Jul 19, 2012Panasonic CorporationCamera body and imaging device
Classifications
U.S. Classification348/333.07, 348/231.99, 348/371, 348/E05.029, 348/E05.024
International ClassificationG09G3/36, H04N5/225, G09G3/20
Cooperative ClassificationG09G2300/0486, G09G2330/02, H04N5/2256, H04N5/225, G09G3/2014, G09G3/3629
European ClassificationH04N5/225L, G09G3/36C6B, H04N5/225
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 10, 2013ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:030186/0542
Effective date: 20130201
Owner name: INTELLECTUAL VENTURES FUND 83 LLC, NEVADA
Feb 1, 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: KODAK REALTY, INC., NEW YORK
Owner name: QUALEX INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Effective date: 20130201
Owner name: CREO MANUFACTURING AMERICA LLC, WYOMING
Owner name: KODAK AMERICAS, LTD., NEW YORK
Owner name: LASER-PACIFIC MEDIA CORPORATION, NEW YORK
Free format text: PATENT RELEASE;ASSIGNORS:CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC.;WILMINGTON TRUST, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION;REEL/FRAME:029913/0001
Owner name: FPC INC., CALIFORNIA
Owner name: KODAK AVIATION LEASING LLC, NEW YORK
Owner name: EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, NEW YORK
Owner name: KODAK IMAGING NETWORK, INC., CALIFORNIA
Owner name: KODAK PORTUGUESA LIMITED, NEW YORK
Owner name: EASTMAN KODAK INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL COMPANY, INC.,
Owner name: FAR EAST DEVELOPMENT LTD., NEW YORK
Owner name: NPEC INC., NEW YORK
Owner name: PAKON, INC., INDIANA
Owner name: KODAK (NEAR EAST), INC., NEW YORK
Owner name: KODAK PHILIPPINES, LTD., NEW YORK
Feb 21, 2012ASAssignment
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC., AS AGENT, NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY;PAKON, INC.;REEL/FRAME:028201/0420
Effective date: 20120215
Sep 23, 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Sep 14, 2007FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jun 20, 2000ASAssignment
Owner name: EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FREDLUND, JOHN R.;WESS, RAYMOND E.;REEL/FRAME:014316/0489;SIGNING DATES FROM 20000615 TO 20000616